It’s been three exciting months for Pragulic co-founder Tereza Jurečková since we at inventures.eu last talked to her. The Czech startup that offers city tours through Prague with homeless guides has been awarded with several prizes, including the SozialMarie, ERSTE Bank Award for Social Integration (read more about it here), and most recently, the 2013 Future Impact Prize in Lugano, Switzerland.
Award for impact investing and philanthropy
The HUB Zurich collaborated with Partnering for Global Impact to source and select early-stage social entrepreneurs, who needed seed funding for their social project. Together with the Investment Ready Program, the HUB Zurich found Pragulic to be a perfect candidate for the award. The startup made it among the five finalists to pitch their ideas in front of a jury and won first and third (audience) prize, a total sum of close to 19.000 dollars.
“The prize means a lot to us because we were also awarded for the impact we want to create in the future,” Jurečková told inventures.eu. It was a confidence boost for the three-person team. “The jury appreciated our entrepreneurial approach and believed that this project has potential to become a global organisation.”
Jurečková and her team seem to do some serious multi-tasking, judging by the projects she mentioned to inventures.eu. The prize money will be used to realise the next steps of their development. “We plan to launch new tours in September,” Jurečková said, “we are training new homeless guides right now and plan to significantly raise the number of tours and grow within Prague.”
They just finished theirbusiness plan, handed it over to investors, and are now working on a marketing strategy, to be launched this coming fall. The social enterprise wants to offer more services such as themed-tours. To give tourists a better understanding of what it means to live on the street, Pragulic will also propose “homeless lifestyle items” such as stickers, bags, and jewelry made by the homeless.
There is more on the social side. From September on, the guides will benefit from the startup’s “homeless accelerator programme”. As such, they will receive a stable income, meal vouchers, clothing and mentoring service among other things, aiming to improve their living conditions as well as easing their reintegration into society.
After more than a year of business, the very positive feedback received from its customers, with many coming back, encourages Pragulic to carry on its helpful work with the community.